Monday, April 30, 2007

Akon,The Girl and The Dance

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Caribbean blogs and forums have been racking up hits thanks to a XXX sex-dance performance by pop celeb Akon and a 15-year old girl. NSFW / S (The Voice, UK:)
"International R&B artist Akon has come under fire after he ‘dry humped’ a pastor’s 15-year-old daughter on stage during a performance on April 12 in Trinidad.

The pair’s dance antics have been described as ‘lewd’ by the island’s Junior National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.

Hinds has called for Akon to be charged with “lewd dancing in public,” and described the teenager, Danah Alleyne, as ‘stupid’ for taking part.

However the girl’s brother, Ian Alleyne, head of Trinidad and Tobago Crime Watch, slammed Hinds. On the minister’s comment, he said: “We have the second coming of Jesus Christ in Trinidad, because he (Hinds) is the only human being who has never done anything wrong in his entire life".

Alleyne said his sister was "not dumb or foolish, and whoever is without sin should cast the first stone" at her.

Danah is the daughter of Flaming Word Ministry pastor Dave Alleyne."

(From Global Voices:) The recent scandal involving US hip-hop artist Akon brutally gyrating on a 15-year-old Trinidadian girl at the island’s popular Zen nightclub has taken both the mainstream media and the blogosphere by storm - mere hours after the incident took place, the video was on YouTube - not to mention scores of blogs, many of which have been enjoying more hits than usual.

In a bid to stem the already extensive and continuous coverage of the event, the teenager’s family is seeking to legally bar the media from further publishing photos and the girl’s name, as she is a minor. Club Zen has apologized for the incident. But apologies have not appeased some bloggers, who remain outraged about the whole episode.

The Modest Goddess has seen the video and is

“not sure what’s more disturbing - the girl being flung and dragged around the stage, legs twisted into varying positions to facilitate his act until he abandons her crumpled on the floor? Or the cheering of the crowd, the roaring approval of the crowd, the screaming, clapping, appreciative crowd. The same crowd that now stands in judgement of what happened.”

Trinidad Carnival Diary reports that Club Zen has been shut down indefinitely on the heels of another unsavoury incident involving a music star - but
Trinidad and Tobago News Blog reports that the closure was short-lived:
"Controversy surrounded the nightclub following a sequence of highly publicized incidents, the latest being a confrontation between a club patron and a group of Soca artistes including Machel Montano. It resulted in a club patron being hospitalized. Montano and Soong both gave statements to the police. This scandal also followed a widely publicized incident involving an under-aged girl in a sexually charged dance with international artiste, Akon."
perhaps making Genie X’s comment about Akon all the more relevant:

“But what of Akon? He was deceitful, egotistical, misogynistic, disrespectful and contemptuous. What price has he paid for his behaviour? What have been the repercussions of acting like an animal? Well, the only one I have seen so far, is that his record label has rallied to protect its ‘investment’, by attempting to hide the evidence of his despicable acts by having it removed from You Tube. Any and every behaviour by black people against black people is okey-dokey with them as long as the music keeps selling. Beyond this one disheartening act, there is the loud and eloquent sound of silence.”

adouglas8403 on mediatakeout.com comments:
I don't know, she looks pretty happy to me! Why would a preacher let her daughter go to an Akon concert and most importantly, why would her father let her wear something like that if she's really 14??!! I don't think he'd even let her out at 18 looking like that! She HAD to have snuck out of the house or something! Or she could've changed at the concert!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pushing It

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More repulsive than Rolling Stone Magazine's abandoned ad campaign featuring the gloved one. The Daily Mail is reporting that Sony's official promotion party for "Gods of War II" featured naked girls, bacchanalia, and a bloody, decapitated goat:

Speaking of war, today on CBS’s Face the Nation, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) expressed frustration with the White House’s public rhetoric about wanting to reach a compromise over Iraq funding.

Tonight, 60 Minutes (CBS again) will air its discussion with former CIA Director George Tenet. In one exchange, Tenet elaborates on a briefing that he and his former aide Cofer Black delivered to then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in July 2001 warning of an “urgent threat” from al Qaeda. read more...

With the advent of the big Don Imus controversy, people are taking a closer look at language. Does America want to be known as a potty-mouth nation? Leon Robinson offers a thoughtful post about swearing. Leon also gives a crash course in multi-lingual cussing. Speaking of Imus, it's interesting to read bloggers' different views on this fellow:

Alexander Dimm: Don Imus has been a regular topic since he uttered a sophomoric description of the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team. It was horrible and stupid and, as I have written here before, he should have been fired... Don Imus and mediamatter.org

Rich in Dundas says he's having a problem with The whole Don Imus thing... In Don Imus and the New Testament, Jeff Allen believes what happened to Don Imus was the direct result of a capitalistic system at work, but folloder doesn't get that logic. Of course, there's always that conspiracy theory angle...

Do we have a double-standard here: Rush Limbaugh is singing a song on his show called "Barack the Magic Negro" to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon." You can read about the song at the Media Matters website here and you can listen to it here. The last link is to the site "Crooks and Liars" which also reports that several employees at radio stations that air Limbaugh's show are complaining to management about Limbaugh's song.
Isn't this just as bad as what Don Imus did?

Candidate Obama: Feet to the Fire

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US Presidential candidate Barack Obama is really getting his "trial by fire" in the media. In the Washington Post, Robert Kagan writes:
"America must "lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good." With those words, Barack Obama put an end to the idea that the alleged overexuberant idealism and America-centric hubris of the past six years is about to give way to a new realism, a more limited and modest view of American interests, capabilities and responsibilities.

Obama's speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs last week was pure John Kennedy, without a trace of John Mearsheimer. It had a deliberate New Frontier feel, including some Kennedy-era references ("we were Berliners") and even the Cold War-era notion that the United States is the "leader of the free world." No one speaks of the "free world" these days, and Obama's insistence that we not "cede our claim of leadership in world affairs" will sound like an anachronistic conceit to many Europeans, who even in the 1990s complained about the bullying "hyperpower." In Moscow and Beijing it will confirm suspicions about America's inherent hegemonism. But Obama believes the world yearns to follow us, if only we restore our worthiness to lead. Personally, I like it."
(continued)

Captain's Quarters blogs a response... Obama, the Neocon

Next we go to Newsweek's May 7, 2007 issue - Sen. Barack Obama vows to bring a "new kind of politics" to Washington. But a copy of a 36-page fax from Obama's Senate office, obtained by NEWSWEEK, shows that the rookie presidential candidate, riding the biggest wave this side of his native Hawaii, needs to keep a sharp eye on the details of his own campaign. Senate ethics rules allow senators with active campaigns to "split" the work time and salary of official schedulers such as Obama's Molly Buford. According to Obama's campaign spokesman, Robert Gibbs, she in fact is paid by both entities. But Senate rules and federal law forbid the use of official equipment—such as faxes and phone lines—to conduct campaign business, which was what Buford was doing last Thursday when she faxed Obama's political "call list" to the senator's personal aide at a Columbia, S.C., hotel. "These are the call sheets for tomorrow's call time," she wrote on the official cover page, emblazoned with the seal of the U.S. Senate.
Do we have a double-standard here: Rush Limbaugh is singing a song on his show called "Barack the Magic Negro" to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon." You can read about the song at the Media Matters website here and you can listen to it here. The last link is to the site "Crooks and Liars" which also reports that several employees at radio stations that air Limbaugh's show are complaining to management about Limbaugh's song.
Isn't this just as bad as what Don Imus did?

WHY THE MEDIA IS PUSHING OBAMA

What If Someone Steals Your Content?

What do you do when someone steals your content? What can you do when your article is stolen right out from under your blog? Plagiarism Today has some good advice:

Before you go ga ga, remember, it's not as easy to locate and dispose of plagiarists as you might be led to believe! Some who have tried to turn the tables on plagiarists have had the tables turned on them! Keep in mind that copyright violation isn’t theft, and a lot of bloggers (especially those on MySpace, the biggest offender by far) simply do not understand the law. Having written that, note further that quoting and citing material is not theft. The majority of all copyright policies include permission for personal and educational use without permission.

Photos that are credited or link back to or are mentioned and obviously from a specific site in the accompanying post are not being plagiarized UNLESS you have hot-linked them. Another question is raised here: is a photo on blogger or flickr or one of the image "parking" sites copyright-protected? Not really: if it's been there for a year or more it may be construed as "public domain." The law is a bit fuzzy when it comes to the Internet. It also makes a difference if you're using your blog for profit. You shouldn't be using someone else's material without permission in order to make money.

It Reads Like A Telenovela Script...

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A steamy sex scandal south of the border? Not quite! It does demonstrate the viciousness of those who may want to bring someone down. Galilea Montijo is a 30-something Hispanic actress, TV hostess and telenovela star, originally from Guadalajara, Mexico. Galilea first came to fame after winning the La Chica TV pageant in 1993. Montijo is battling rumours that she stars in a sex video currently being distributed on the Net. Reliable sources identify the woman in the footage as "adult film star" Monique Fuentes.

NSFW/S-”Supuesto” video de Galilea Montijo Teniendo Sexo (Se recomienda Discrecion)

Dear Diary

Ever since I was a child, I've been a regular reader of newspaper obituaries. They are little stories, the Cliff's Notes of somebody's life. When someone dies young or in an accident or of a serious illness, you feel a little emptier after reading the obit. You might even find yourself uttering a little prayer for that individual's soul. On the other hand, someone who has led a rich, full life, like recently departed Kitty Carlisle, you just kind of stand back, sigh and say "wow!"

Some obits make you wish you had known that person, or if you had known them, make you wish you knew them a little better. When unique circumstances surround a person's death, the "obit" may appear as an article in the newspaper. Over the last few days there have been many stories written about the New York State Trooper who died in the line of duty. But you have to read Paul Grondahl's piece in the Albany Times Union to take a deeper look into the persona of David Brinkerhoff. That Saturday / Sunday $1 edition of the TU has a photo the trooper with his wife and child on page 1. Just read Mr. Grondahl's story. It's too good to lift an excerpt from. When you're done, look around you at the people in your life. Instead of waiting to someday read their obituaries, see what you can find out about them today. And let them know a little more about you. So they don't have to find out when they read your obituary.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

African Photographs

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Pictured: A female member of the Mursi tribe in Southern Ethiopia with an AK47 and an iPod.


Blogders, behold: A collection of splendid photographs, images of Africa. These will awe you, inspire you, and set your imagination on fire!

SAHARAN VIBE

Among my favorite posts on this blog:
AFRICAN CITIES PART 1
LET US EAT
SIMPLY MAASAI

The image above, one of many on Saharan Vibe, is a testament that the world is, indeed, becoming smaller, as nations become more interdependent. With the ongoing, unprecedented acceleration of technological change and the consequences of globalization, with its attendant competitiveness, national development in all spheres be it economic, political, or social/cultural aspects therefore assumes even greater importance and urgency in contemporary Africa territories.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Leni Riefenstahl

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Leni Riefenstahl (pictured w/Hitler) died on Monday 8 September 2003, in Poecking, Germany, a few weeks after her 101st birthday.

I recently viewed Triumph of the Will (German: Triumph des Willens), the propaganda film by German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. It chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg. The film contains excerpts from speeches given by various Nazi leaders at the Congress, including portions of speeches by Adolf Hitler, interspersed with footage of massed party members. Hitler commissioned the film and served as an unofficial executive producer; his name appears in the opening credits. The overriding theme of the film is the return of Germany as a great power, with Hitler as the True German Leader who will bring glory to the nation.

Triumph of the Will was released in 1935 and rapidly became one of the best-known examples of propaganda in film history. Riefenstahl's techniques, such as moving cameras, the use of telephoto lenses to create a distorted perspective, aerial photography, and revolutionary approach to the use of music and cinematography, have earned Triumph recognition as one of the greatest propaganda films in history. The film was popular in the Third Reich and elsewhere, and has continued to influence movies, documentaries, and commercials to this day, even as it raises the question over the dividing line between art and morality.
"Shortly after he came to power Hitler called me to see him and explained that he wanted a film about a Party Congress, and wanted me to make it. My first reaction was to say that I did not know anything about the way such a thing worked or the organization of the Party, so that I would obviously photograph all the wrong things and please nobody — even supposing that I could make a documentary, which I had never yet done. Hitler said that this was exactly why he wanted me to do it: because anyone who knew all about the relative importance of the various people and groups and so on might make a film that would be pedantically accurate, but this was not what he wanted. He wanted a film showing the Congress through a non-expert eye, selecting just what was most artistically satisfying — in terms of spectacle, I suppose you might say. He wanted a film which would move, appeal to, impress an audience which was not necessarily interested in politics." -- Leni Riefenstahl
It's a powerful picture that has withstood the test of time.
Australian National University collection of photos from Triumph des Willens
Leni Riefenstahl: Documentary Film-Maker Or Propagandist?
Leni Riefenstahl on Video
LENI RIEFENSTAHL was born in Berlin in 1902. She studied painting and started her artistic career as a dancer. She became already so famous after her first dance hat Max Reinhardt engaged her for the »Deutsches Theater«.

An injury of the knee put an end to her sensational career. After that, she became famous as an actress, a film director, a film producer and a film reporter. She became world-renowned as an actress in the films »Der heilige Berg« (1926), »Der große Sprung« (1927), »Die weiße Hölle vom Piz Palü« (1929), »Stürme über dem Mont Blanc« (1930), »Der weiße Rausch« (1931), »Das Blaue Licht« (1932) and «SOS Eisberg» (1933).

Her greatest success she made with the documentary film »Triumph des Willens« named after the Reich Party Congress 1934 in Nuremberg which got the highest awards: The gold medal in Venice in 1935 and the gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1937. However, at the end of the war this film destroyed Leni Riefenstahl's career, for now it had no longer been recognized as a piece of art but been condemned as a National Socialist propaganda film. Her world-famous film about the Olympic games made the same experience. That film included two parts, part I »Fest der Völker« and part 2 »Fest der Schönheit« , and did also get the highest awards: the gold medal in Paris in 1937, the first price in Venice as the world's best film in 1938, the Olympic Award by the IOC in 1939, and in 1956 it had been classified as one of the world's best ten films.

As a photographer, too she soon gained the world's elite after the war. Photo reportages about her stay with the Nuba were first published in the magazines »Stern«, »The Sunday Times Magazine«, »Paris Match«, »L'Europeo«, »Newsweek« and »The Sun«. Mainly her illustrated books »The Nuba« and »The Nuba of Kau« earned her further honors and awards.

Gay Marriage

Look for "Gay Marriage" to become quite the political hot potato in the weeks and months to come ;)
The Albany Project: Spitzer Keeps Gay Marriage Promise
NY1: "...The bill would establish equal responsibilities, benefits and protections for same-sex couples. The bill also says that churches can be compelled to perform same-sex marriages. " Hmmm... is that right? Politics on the Hudson reports "No clergy member of religious institution would be compelled to perform gay marriages."
Anyway, along with that move came a decision from the New York State Department of Civil Services stated that legally married, same-sex spouses of state employees would be eligible for medical and other benefits administered through its Employee Benefits Division.

Swim w/Phishes

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Phish phans on the phringe may not phollow the group and its phront man Phrey, I mean Trey, (pictured) closely enough to know that there is always a Phish Phriday happening at LiveMusicBlog.

Robot Germinoid

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The modern robot was "invented" by a writer - in this case, by the Czech Karel Capek, whose 1920 play, Rossum's Universal Robots, introduced the idea of the intelligent, humanoid, mechanical slave.

In fact, the original concept of a robot was much older than this.

In Greek mythology, Vulcan (the god of metal work) created mechanical servants, including intelligent female slaves and automated furniture.

But it was Capek who not only coined the word (from the Czech verb "to work") but defined what most of us think when we envisage a robot.

[more...]

Video: Meet the Germinoid robot

Like That?

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Like Hillary? The former first lady, present-day Senator from New York and presidential contender is also a part-time blogger: Mrs. Clinton guest-blogged on Firedoglake in a post about equal pay issues and the Paycheck Fairness Act. You may have heard about Mrs. C's "sometimes Southern" accent. Associated Press is reporting
"Clinton added a Southern lilt to her voice last week when addressing a civil rights group in New York City headed by the Rev. Al Sharpton. On Monday, dealing with a microphone glitch at a fundraiser for young donors, she quoted former slave and underground railroad leader Harriet Tubman.

The two episodes prompted some ribbing in the media and hatched more than a few humorous YouTube video clips.

Clinton is a linguistic polyglot—a Chicago native turned New York resident who works in Washington and spent two decades living in Arkansas when her husband, Bill Clinton, was governor.

But observers have long noted her tendency to speak Southern primarily in front of black audiences, as she did with Sharpton last week and at a civil rights commemoration in Selma in March. "
I have no problem with the accent. I think all of us should be able to adjust our speaking skills when warranted. When I was a kid and we'd visit relatives in Utica, I'd pick up their pronunciations while in town.

Published reports indicate Hillary Clinton emerged as the clear winner from the first debate between the Democratic candidates in the 2008 presidential race — ahead of her main rival Barack Obama — The main aim at this stage, with the election of the Democrat candidate 260+ days away, was for the frontrunners to avoid making mistakes — which they did — and for the second and third tier candidates Mr Kuchinich, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel to make an impression — which they failed to do.

The consensus among students watching the debate was summed up by 18-year-old Sharonda Richards. “Overall, Hillary did best. I was disappointed in Obama. Before I was torn betweeen Hillary and Obama,” she said. Clinton appeared to be the most comfortable of the eight runners in the 90-minute televised debate from the South Carolina university campus as she dealt with a series of questions ranging from how she would handle another terrorist attack on the US to her vote in 2002 backing the invasion of Iraq.

Like Ice Cream? Baskin-Robbins has a special discount scoop promotion coming up May 2nd. The chain is charging only 31 cents a scoop on that day. The cheap scoop promotion is taking place next Wednesday night (May 2) from 5 pm to 10 pm as a special fundraiser for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

Like COMMENTS? 17-thousand of them? Josie Liu from China in Transition reported on a recent internet debate (17000 comments) about animal right VS human right. The discussion was triggered off by an incident of burning dogs in Nanjing city.

Like Warhol? Here's an interesting Andy page.

Like Watanabe? At the age of 61, Peruvian poet José Watanabe succumbed to cancer and left behind many admirers of his work. The son of a Japanese immigrant father and a Peruvian mother, Watanabe had no desire to visit his father’s homeland recalls El Blog Del Morsa [ES] during a dinner with the poet. Perhaps this was because he was so immersed in the arts of his own country and cultivating the talent of young artists. Finally, the blog Presencia Cultural [ES] leaves us with YouTube videos of Watanabe reading his verses aloud.

Here's a glimpse of other posts in the blogosphere today:

Rinaz in Singapore is calling out all teachers to emulate her friend Kevin who regularly videos his lectures and posts them online.

Weblog meets television: Los Bloggers [ES] is a magazine-style live show where there´s a daily topic and interaction with the audience that can take place through cell phone text messages displayed on screen, phone calls, and comments on their website.

Is the Medium the Message?: Howard Gardner explores the question: Do the new digital media change everything?

It's tough to be a vegetarian in Uganda!

Billboard De La Musica Latina 2007

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Paulina Rubio despidió ayer su soltería con tres premios Billboard a la música latina, además de protagonizar el momentazo de la gala. A su llegada a la alfombra verde de los premios coincidió con su gran amigo Miguel Bosé y los dos se besaron en la boca, provocándo los gritos de los fans que se agolpaban a las puertas del recinto. El papito también se llevó un galardón en reconocimiento a sus treinta años de carrera. El colombiano Juanes y Los Horóscopos de Durango fueron los otros triunfadores de la noche, junto con Mariano Barba con cuatro galardones el 'rey' de los Billboard 2007.

La gala de los prmios Billboard de la Música latina 2007, celebrada en Miami, fue conducida por la actriz Marlene Favela y el actor y cantante Carlos Ponce, e inaugurada con la actuación de la 'chica dorada' Paulina Rubio y por el reggaetonero Don Omar. La mexicana galardonada con el Billboard a Artista del Año, Álbum Pop Femenino y Tema Latin Pop Airplay Femenino, volvió a subirse al escenario para cantar a dúo con Miguel Bosé el tema 'Nena', primer single del último álbum del cantante español.

México tuvo una fuerte representación en la ceremonia. Los Horóscopos de Durango se llevaron tres premios Billboard por Mejor Álbum Regional Mexicano, Tema Regional Mexicano como grupo y Tema Regional Mexicano Nueva Generación. 'Nada valgo sin tu amor' de Jaunes fue elegido el Tema del Año, pero no fue el único Billboard del colombiano, también consiguió el premio Álbum pop del año y Tema Latin Pop Airplay Masculino.

El resto de premios Billboard principales al Mejor Dúo vocal del año, Compositor del año y Productor del año recayeron en Aleks Syntek y Ana Torroja, Leonel García y Ruby Pérez, respectivamente. - Corazones Abiertos

VivirLatino watched parts of the Premios Billboard de la Musica Latina live on Telemundo (canal 47 here in NYC) last night ( I channel flipped among the awards, Ugly Betty/Grey’s Anatomy, a PBS documentary about NYC history, and a repeat of a Summerstage concert I saw live with Seu George). The pre-show was a one big advertisement with stars walking down a green carpet sponsored by the green bottled beer (that shall remain nameless) and the Target dog was flashed across the screen more than once.

The local coverage here seemed to be dominated by telenovela stars like Gabriela Spanic who spoke out against President Hugo Chavez’s ban on telenovelas saying he’s taking away jobs from Venezuelans. Thankfully they showed male telenovela stars to like the oh so yummy Dame Chocolate star Carlos Ponce who was one of the main presenters of the evening.

As usual the fashion was dominated by women with plunging necklines revealing thousands of dollars worth of implants like la bon bon asesina Ninel Conde who showed more silicone than the FDA should allow in one woman.

Check out pictures here and here! .

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Misc.

Who's feeling sick?

Lifehacker blogs Previously-mentioned Windows-only backup client for Mozy is now available for Mac too.

Mac users can download the Mozy client and backup 2 gigabytes of data online for free with Mozy, with unlimited space priced at $5 a month.

read more...

How do copyright and fair use laws, framed before the internet was a twinkle in the eye, apply in the world of blogging? The answer, as a case that unfolded on ScienceBlogs this week demonstrates, may be "not so clearly."

read more...

Getting around underground in NYC is no longer only for people who already know how to get around underground in NYC. Graphic Designer Eric Jabbour has been spending his free time obsessively redesigning MTA transit maps.

Mixed Bag O'Links

People, start your sponges! How To Make (and grow) A Luffa! From the comments: "If you live in a major city, check out the stores in your local Chinatown. In the NYC Chinatown some of the groceries which sell seeds also sell Luffa seeds."

Wendy's Wii toys are coming: Wendy's Kids meal site.

Hundred dollar laptop backer Nicholas Negroponte says the laptops will actually cost $175 and will have an option for running Windows.

jimray : Nikon is giving D80's to 50 or so "bloggers of influence" - I happen to know that they've not just including photobloggers...

Sachi and Lee LeFever are doing a series of "paperworks" educational videos. From Lee's email:

"In my opinion, RSS has been too geeky for too long. I have friends who use the web as much as I do and have no clue about RSS. It's a minor travesty. To help remedy this situation, Sachi and I created a video called "RSS in Plain English" that is aimed at turning-on the non-geeks of the world. It's in a format we call "paperwork" - I think you'll see what that means. We're just getting started and hoping that you can help spread the word (it just went live couple of hours ago). Obviously, there is room for improvement - any feedback is welcome. We're planning to do more paperwork videos as part of The Common Craft Show."

And it is! Watch it here.

Kylie Minogue / Kylie X fans have two videos to watch courtesy SometimesTicklish.

Samantha Burns blogs about "a world full of stinky brown butts..." HERE

Susan Murphy-Milano blogs that kids with religious parents are better behaved and adjusted than other children, according to a new study that is the first to look at the effects of religion on young child development. Read the rest ...

Jack Valenti, 85, passed away today. Link to an obituary in the Los Angeles Times.

Sony's Answer to YouTube

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Sony will launch a video-sharing site in Japan on Friday, marking the electronics and entertainment firm's first step towards challenging Google Inc.'s YouTube service. It's called eyeVio 新規登録. No overseas launch planned at this time.

America On Line (AOL) launched its India-specific portal yesterday. AOL is probably the last major US portal to make its appearance in India.

World of Pain

RIP State Police Trooper David Brinkerhoff

Pictures (WARNING: GRAPHIC) from inside war torn Iraq leaves Dallas Penn with little to say...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Around The Blogosphere 25 April 07

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Let's open it up with our two power-bloggers, Michelle Malkin and Wendy Cheng. MM blogs "How the media partnered with Hezbollah" while XiaXue (Wendy) has returned home to Singapore: "Finally got back home and slept off the jetlag. 78 photos. And one new tattoo." Here!

Back in New York, Capital Region powerblogger Elizabeth Benjamin is now over at the Daily News... today she's blogging about Men Behaving Badly:
"My former home, CapConf, reports the "Reverand Assemblyman Karim Camara, a Brooklyn Democrat, was arrested for DWI and speeding at 1:45 a.m. this morning on Albany's Central Avenue. He refused to take a breathalyzer, but failed field sobriety tests." In a later post, Liz reveals there will be No Special Treatment For Camara.
AlJazeera Talk is live blogging the 3rd AlJazeera International Documentary Film Festival, being held at the Doha Sheraton. The four-day event is free and open to the public, showcasing nearly a hundred films from around the globe. According to qatari there are films in Arabic, Spanish, Urdu, French, Hindi, Russian, Balkar, Bosnian, Gernman, Kurdish, Polish, Kashmiri, Chinese, Indonesian, Farsi, Mandarin, Italian, Bengali and Creole.

Urban Outfitters gets bloggy with a new "horizontal" blog... A group of netizens have organized a new BBS forum: article23.net. The organizers compared the proposal in the government digital copyright consultation as the notorious article 23 in Basic Law which led to half a milion people demonstration in 2003. The BBS forum is to share information concerning digital copyright issue and possible mobilization against the copyright legislation.

Global Voices: Asia: Asian VS. Western Media

I posted this on my health blog: Looking to protect yourself against cancer and other diseases? Look no farther: Superfoods: The Next Frontier - Cancer - MSN Health & Fitness - 1

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Site Skipping

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With all the chatter about rap lyrics, morality and society, "Meeting Paris Hilton" is a new track by Brazilian electro-rock group Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS), Portuguese for "tired of being sexy," whose lyrics never mention the hotel heiress by name but do feature the word "bitch" over 20 times.

In its heyday, The Last Unicorn music store (Utica, NY) was the local independently owned hotspot for both obscure used music and popular new releases, some of which were launched with in-store midnight music sales. Now, it will operate only on the Internet...

Joni Mitchell - You Turn Me On (I'm a Radio)

An interesting piece from Music Week (UK):

Long-tail helps niche albums
23 April 2007

The so-called “long-tail” impact on the singles market, since the introduction of legal downloads, is starting to reach the albums business, according to new Music Week research.

MW’s detailed study of quarter one trading patterns indicates that, while sales of the Top 200 sellers plummeted year-on-year by more than 20%, the rest of the market dropped by little more than 3%. It indicates that, as the top titles suffer the biggest falls in a clearly tough market, sales are being spread out more widely across a greater number of titles.

The apparent trend is being warmly received by labels and retailers alike, coming after a challenging opening three months of 2007 when artist albums were 8.94% down on Q1 2006, despite having had the added benefit of download album sales. These were not added to OCC sales figures until quarter two last year.

The drop was led by disastrous sales of the Top 200 artist albums, whose total of 11.29m physical units in the 13-week period was 21.13% lower than the first quarter of 2006.

Further down the chart, however, it was a different story, with sales of wider catalogue remaining relatively healthy. Excluding the top 200 best sellers, 13.10m physical artist albums were sold in the first quarter of 2007, down just 3.33% on a similar total for Q1 2006.

Furthermore, OCC data indicates that, despite the generally poor state of the artist albums market, sales of the 5,001st to 9,999th best-selling artist albums in Q1 2007 increased 11.82% year-on-year.

This comparatively robust performance, suggests Universal commercial director Brian Rose, is partly due to the falling price of chart CDs, which has forced many retailers to shift away from chart albums.

“Because there are thinner margins on chart, retailers are being forced to work campaigns even harder and getting better at it,” Rose says. “It’s either price-driven or people are giving more space to promotions.”

Rose adds that the rise may also be influenced by the growth in online retailers, which can offer a far wider range of product than physical stores – Play.com, for example, aims to offer all available UK catalogue albums by April and Amazon.co.uk already provides more than 1m different titles.

“We have grown and grown our catalogue business,” says Play.com head of music Helen Marquis. “We have had growth just by expanding the catalogue.”

China's infamous movie pirates have done it again -- "Spider-Man 3" is already being sold on Beijing's streets almost two weeks ahead of its U.S. premiere. Anyone fancy viewing a Chinese computer magazine (Googletranzed) online?

You may have heard of "Fantasy Football" or "
Rotisserie Baseball" but howZabout "Rotisserie Rap" --- check out cRap Music Fantasy League on Dallas Penn's weblog:
"The premise of the cRap Music Fantasy League is that each player runs their own record label which has eight performers. At least one of them had to be a female rapper and also they needed to have one R & B singer (male or female). The label owners could even opt to have dead rappers on their label’s roster with the understanding that “dead rapper’s get better promotion” - (c)Jadakiss. The cRap Music Fantasy League is like a popularity contest and whichever artists can keep themselves in the media spotlight are the ones that will bring you the higher score. But ultimately, the cRap Fantasy League is a points driven game and certain favorable events in the course of a artists career will garner that performer points."

Four months and change into his term, NY Gov Eliot Spitzer is introducing legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage. As promised. The Vatican's second-highest ranking doctrinal official on Monday forcefully branded homosexual marriage an evil.

Global Voices' Amira Al Hussaini asks What makes a good blog and how do you assess blogs in your region?

Tunisian blogger Mouelhizied has attempts to answer this question and has a lot to say about his country’s bloggers.

تقييمنا للمدونات عموما والمدونات التونسية خصوصا يبقى أولا وآخرا تقييما ذاتيا. مهما حاولنا طرق الموضوعية والعقلانية، يبقى التقييم مرتبطا برؤى واعتبارات شخصية ومعايير ذاتية. هذه مدونة نحترمها، أخرى نحبها، تلك نمر عليها مر الكرام ومدونة نشمئز حتى من قراءة اسمها. هذه حقيقة. وكما نفعله نحن مع بقية المدونات يتعامل غيرنا مع مدوناتنا بنفس الأسلوب أو أقبح أو اشد قبحا وسفها.
“Our assessment of blogs and especially Tunisian blogs remains a subjective issue, and a personal opinion at most. Even if we try objective and logical approaches, such an assessment will always have personal criteria. There are some blogs which we respect and others which we love; there are some we just skim as well as blogs which repel us by their names alone. This is the truth. And just as we deal in this manner with the rest of the blogs, others treat our blogs with the same mentality and perhaps in an uglier way,” he explains.

Although there are 361 Tunisian blogs according to the latest count, only 10 to 20 per cent of them are active and have daily posts, says Mouelhizied.

يمكنك قراءة كل المدونات التونسية في هذا المجمع يوميا. قد تأخذ قراءة المدونات المحيّنة سويعة أو أكثر.
هناك مدونون ومدونات في مستوى ممتاز يكتبون قليلا وفي قّلة كتاباتهم تعيش أحلى القراءات.
وهناك من يكتب أحيانا ولكنه يكتب بجدية وتحترم كتاباته.
وهناك من “يزنزن” بنفس الايقاع. نفس الروايات تقريبا حتى أنه بامكانك معرفة الموضوع والمحتوى دون داع لبذل جهد في القراءة والتفكير بمجرد رؤية التوقيع.
“You can read all the Tunisian blogs in the aggregator daily. Reading them all will take you about an hour or a little more. There are some bloggers and blogs which are exceptional in quality but whose posts are infrequent. However, it is in such sparse posts that you enjoy the best of your reading times. There are others who write more frequently but who also write seriously and who make you respect their writings. Other bloggers are the type who nag on the same point. They spin the same stories all the time to the extent that you can deduce the subject matter and the content of the post without taking the trouble of reading it - just by reading the blogger’s name,” he notes.

Kryptonite, which robbed Superman of his powers, is no longer the stuff of comic books and films.

How To Think "Outside The Box"

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You've heard the phrase before. What thinking "outside the box" really means is thinking carefully before you verbalize. Especially if you're one of those prone to inserting foot in mouth on a regular basis. Instead of piping into the conversation (or into the air) wait a moment. Are you sure you want to say what you're going to say? Now, edit. Delete, say nothing, if you would have regretted saying it aloud. THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. Don't worry, If you start doing it, and do it consistently, no one will notice the short delay. No one but you: you'll experience the positive results and peace of mind this technique brings.

Thinking outside the box requires different characteristics:

  • One should be willing to take new perspectives to day-to-day work.
  • One should be capable of thinking differently with an open mind, think about stuff with substance, and do things differently.
  • One must focus on the value of finding new ideas and acting on them.
  • One must strive to create value in newer ways.
  • One must be capable of listening to, supporting, nurturing and respecting others when they come up with new ideas.

Out-of-the box thinking requires openness to new ways of seeing the world and a willingness to explore. 'Out of the box' thinkers know that new ideas need nurturing and support. They also know that having an idea is good, but acting on it is more important. Results are what count.

Ian Ayres and Barry Nalebuff are professors at Yale Law School and Yale School of Management, respectively. They are the authors of “Why Not? How To Use Everyday Ingenuity To Solve Problems Big and Small” (Harvard Business School Press).

Ian & Barry offer you two simple tools for coming up with great ideas:

• Open your eyes and “plagiarize.” Inspired by the Tom Lehrer song, the idea is to look around you and see how things are done in other countries or contexts. What smart solutions already exist, and how can they be adapted or adopted for your problem?

• The flip. Instead of doing something one way, why not try it the other way around? Sometimes it will work worse, other times better. Or you might find that the reverse approach will solve a different problem. For example: Lay’s potato chips had the slogan “Betcha can’t eat just one.” Try turning this around: How about a chip where you can eat just one? While that might not be what you want for a Super Bowl party, most times we’d rather have a chip that didn’t lead us to overeat. Indeed, Frito-Lay has started to offer its chips in portion-control packages.

Ward Stone, the Bees and The Big Blue Marble

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Last night (and early today) Schenectady TV station WRGB ran the piece about Ward Stone and the vanishing bees. The promos were more enticing than the actual report, which offered very little in the way of any new information. Kinda like the trailer that makes you keen on going to a particular movie, which turns out to be a huge dud. Of course, Channel 6 had limited time to tell the story, and I'll bet they're not too sure how much the average 11pm news viewer knows about Colony Collapse Disorder.

The most striking bit of information: that bees died off en masse once before, during the 1930s. Hmmmm... no cell phones then. I did a quick google but didn't find anything to support that 1930s statement, but it figures, and here's why: we've only been keeping "modern" records since the 1850s or so. How many times have you heard people reacting to normally peculiar northeast weather by saying "it's global warming." Then, you watch the news on TV and the weatherman says something like "we tied a record set back in 1903." point is, stuff happens, and happens again later on down the road. While I do not dismiss the notion of global climate change, I strongly suggest CCD be researched a little more thoroughly.

While I'm in a suggesting mood, and I've mentioned this before, WRGB CBS6 needs to do away with those "trailer-style" promos for news stories. Or at least make sure the story is as or more intriguing than the promo/trailer.

By the way: A detailed, up-to-date report on Colony Collapse Disorder can be found on the Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium Web site at http://maarec.org.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday Night Link RoundUp


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SANJAYA still hot: don't say So long, Sanjaya just yet... the Indian singer appeared on the David Letterman Show Monday night.

JUST FOR FON! "In a big win for a little Wi-Fi start-up called Fon Time Warner Cable will let its home broadband customers turn their connections into public wireless hotspots,a practice shunned by most U.S. Internet service providers,"USA Today reports. Time Warner customers can generate Wi-Fi hotspots

OBAMA'S SPEECH...Barack Obama gave his big foreign policy speech today. "There are five ways America will begin to lead again when I'm President," he said. Here they are: read more... »

From Barack to Bjork: How would you like to Make Bjork's next music video?. She'd love for you to take a stab at making the video for Innocence (streaming music on her myspace page).

jimray : Is USA Today’s orientation toward social networking detrimental to its journalistic purpose? - Too much social, not enough editing... Email is the new snailmail (another USA Today story about how email has been replaced with texting/IM when it comes to teens. Also, check out the teen texting champ.
Teen pockets $25,000 in texting contest

RIP David Halberstam

Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author David Halberstam. (Photo Courtesy of Royce Carlton, Inc.)
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Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Halberstam, whose work for the New York Times on the Vietnam War led many to question the U.S. military presence there, died Monday in a car crash in Northern California.

Halberstam, 73, was a passenger in a vehicle involved in a three-vehicle accident at 10:35 a.m. PDT, according to the Menlo Park Police Department. "He was pronounced dead at the scene," said Kristine Gamble, senior deputy coroner for San Mateo County, south of San Francisco.

He was born April 10, 1934, in New York City to a surgeon father and teacher mother. His father was in the military and the family moved around the country during his childhood, spending time in Texas, Minnesota and Connecticut.

Halberstam attended Harvard University, where he was managing editor of the Harvard Crimson newspaper.

After graduating in 1955, he launched his career at the Daily Times Leader, a small newspaper in West Point, Mississippi. He went on to the Tennessean, in Nashville, where he covered the civil rights struggle, and then the New York Times, which sent him to Vietnam in 1962 to cover the growing conflict there.

Wins the Pulitzer at 30
As as young man in the Southeast Asian nation in the early 1960s, he was one of a small group of intrepid reporters who questioned the official Washington line that the United States was winning the war. The New York Times had to resist pressure from the Kennedy administration to take him out of the country, and he won the Pulitzer Prize at age 30.

His 1965 book "The Making of a Quagmire" described how the United States got involved in the war in 1961 and 1962 and helped link the word quagmire with the Vietnam War. In 1972 he wrote "The Best and The Brightest," which made the case the best minds in the U.S. government had engaged the country in an intractable and unwinnable war.

Other Keyboards:
Belichick statement on Halberstam
Rest in Peace, Mr. Halberstam

David Halberstam Killed in Car Accident
RIP David Halberstam
David Halberstam Dead at 73
David Halberstam Killed in Car Accident

Speaking of Unspoken Things

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Ah, Spring! And with Spring, come "Gypsies". The Roma are among the most widely persecuted peoples in the world. Going by many different names including the derogatory Gypsy.

Devious Diva blogs on discrimination of the Roma population of Greece:

Racism is ugly.

Poverty is ugly

The Roma who live in the Votanikos settlement are doubly discriminated against. For a start, they are Roma and the Roma are one of the most despised and discriminated against communities on the planet. Hated by the vast majority of everyone. The Roma there, are also Albanian. If you could even begin to imagine what that means, you would probably only understand a fraction of the whole picture.

So I left their camp and headed home. I decided I needed to walk so I did for a long time before finally reaching home. My house with electricity and running water and bedrooms and oven and washing machine and a room full of toys and our computers and my garden. And I felt bloody guilty. I don’t know really know how to explain all the feelings I felt during my short visit. Shock, disgust, shame, helplessness, anger. But now I am writing this all I feel is guilt. Why? Because I am not going to do anything other than sit at my computer and write this.
Anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide, but France has seen a particularly significant jump in the number of violent attacks on Jews, writes Israeli blogger Smooth Stone.

UPSTREAM blog offers two "make you think" posts:
Is Your Daughter An Amsterwhore? "I don’t know which is more disturbing–Don Imus referring to women as whores or young women calling themselves whores?" and
Don Imus, Nikki Giovanni & Other Random Thoughts On The Virginia Tech Massacre.

Sokari has posted a poem for your perusal...

Ward Stone on WRGB

Capital Regionites take note: tonight at 11 (within the 11pm News) on Channel 6, WRGB talks with Ward Stone about the vanishing bees. Last week while putting together some stuff for Earth Day I met several students at the College of St. Rose who are in Ward's environmental class. Smart buncha kids! It'll be interesting to get Ward's take on the plight of our little friends...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

What "Map: Welcome to the Blogosphere" Doesn't Tell You!

Long before Michelle Malkin turned her website into a blog, I was a regular visitor. IMHO MM's established site helped popularize and build her blog faster than an extreme home makeover!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Michelle Malkin, Xiaxue, Wendy Cheng, blogging, web2.0

Stephen Ornes writes in DISCOVER Magazine:

The blogosphere is the most explosive social network you’ll never see. Recent studies suggest that nearly 60 million blogs exist online, and about 175,000 more crop up daily (that’s about 2 every second). Even though the vast majority of blogs are either abandoned or isolated, many bloggers like to link to other Web sites. These links allow analysts to track trends in blogs and identify the most popular topics of data exchange. Social media expert Matthew Hurst recently collected link data for six weeks and produced this plot of the most active and interconnected parts of the blogosphere.

"Just as most people who start a novel never finish, most blogs are abandoned in less than a year, and many don’t make it past a few posts..." - Eric Berlin

The article includes a "Map" along with an article that cites popular sites DailyKos and Boingboing, while dismissing LiveJournal as a " blogging island is just barely in touch with the rest of the blogworld." The brightest light on the DISCOVER Blogosphere globe belongs to syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin. Michelle references this in her blog.

Now, here's what DISCOVER's Map article DOESN'T tell you:

"...In the blogosphere, the biggest audiences - and the advertising revenue they bring - go to a small, elite few. Most bloggers toil in total obscurity..." "...In scientific terms, this pattern is called "homeostasis" - the tendency of networked systems to become self-reinforcing. It’s the same thing you see in economies: the rich-get-richer problem..." - (New York Magazine: Blogs to Riches: The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom)

"The system that was supposed to democratize media has instead become a sort of J.V. for the much-derided but secretly envied Main Stream Media [MSM]. The top bloggers have become, in some cases the pets, and in some cases the tormentors of, the writers in the front rank." - (Frank Giovinazzi: Blogosphere 2.0 -- The Means to Game the System that Nobody will Use)

We always hear about blogs that have "a lot of traffic." How much is a lot? Would you rather have 25 or 100 or 400 readers who check your blog everyday, or would you rather have 80,000 people click in on a daily basis? It think it's the QUALITY not the quantity: those faithful readers who show up every day and READ what you've posted.

I checked on two of my favorite bloggers, and you may be surprised at what I've found:

XiaXue (Wendy Cheng) continues to enjoy high numbers of incoming hits... she's up around 100,000 most of the time. Like any blogger worth his/her salt, she had a surge one day in late December 2006.





Michelle Malkin is a bright star in the blog Cosomos: in the past she has exceeded the MILLION hit-a-day mark, but for the first quarter of 2007, she and Xiaxue have been in roughly the same virtual territory.






Okay: what secret do Wendy and Michelle share? LINKS! They have been LINKED to or simply MENTIONED in other blogs! XiaXue was catapulted into high-traffic territory when Blogger made her a "featured blogger." Michelle Malkin's columns and books were widely read before she turned her website into a blog... and everything she writes is food for thought and material for other keyboards.

Wendy and Michelle share something else: Television. Michelle has appeared on many FOX News programs while Wendy has served as co-host on Asia's popular "Girls Out Loud" series.

A make-up artist works his magic on Wendy Cheng, who blogs as Xiaxue (Falling Snow). Wendy's pop-star looks, eye-candy site design and outspoken attitude landed her a stint as spokesmodel for LocalBrand T-Shirts (Singapore). Wendy's blog is a curious mix of teen innocence, Singaporean savvy and truckstop banter! Oh, and she's SEXY too!

It's no big secret that SEX SELLS. A large chunk of internet business (successful internet business) deals in pornography. In researching the internet prior to launching the Capital Region People blog, I found certain blogs attracted more attention than others. The Newsblog or Political Blog is tops in the USA, closely followed by the Personal-Diary form, popularized by Stephanie Klein. Personal/Sexual and Game blogs rule the roost across much of Asia, most notably China where Mu Zimei, Furong JieJie and others have made their mark on Net history, and Singapore too, with Xiaxue and SarongPartyGirl.

The validation that SEX SELLS came for me the morning of August 2nd, 2005. I'm usually up early. I was checking traffic stats for CRP around 5am and noticed something wasn't quite right. An enormous "spike". What was it? Over 3-thousand hits? WHY? Was this a mistake? With a comfortable number of incoming links and an average of 400 unique hits a day, how could I not want more? CRP may not be the most popular blog around but I nurtured it into something bigger than I'd ever expected it to be. But not THIS big?!??!

Depending on the counter/tracking service, CRP got between 18,000 to 23,000 hits on that date. It wasn't blog-readers (blogders). It was websurfers Googling Sandra "Beth Geisel," the CBA teacher who had sex with young teen students. Because I had the foresight (a total accident) to post "The Doctor and The Teacher" on July 30th and "Media Circus" on July 31st, I was blessed with more visitors to CRP than I could ever have imagined!

I figured out what happened: sometime between the 31stof July and the 2nd of August, the search-engine "spiders" had visited the CRP blog and sucked up the terms "Sandra Geisel" and "Beth Geisel." Bingo! I couldn't have begged, borrowed or stole more hits! Top ranking on Google, Yahoo and FoxNews search engines! Incredible!

Social Feedback is important to bloggers, as well. An awful lot of bloggers pay an awful lot of attention to Technorati. Some won't blog on a particular topic unless it is in the "Technorati Top 10." Unless you want to artificially inflate traffic by posting about "Brrreeeport," this is a mistake! I've often blogged on a particular topic without any recognition or appreciable increase in traffic, then a few months later, a newspaper or magazine will print an article on that very topic and WHAM! Suddenly, new readers appear via search engines... hopefully, one or two will come back to visit again. Building a base readership takes time and patience!

"...if you talk to many of today’s bloggers, they’ll complain that the game seems fixed. They’ve targeted one of the more lucrative niches: gossip or politics or gadgets (or sex, of course) yet they cannot reach anywhere close to the size of the existing big blogs. It’s as if there were an A-list of a few extremely lucky, well-trafficked blogs then hordes of people stuck on the B-list or C-list, also-rans who can’t figure out why their audiences stay so comparatively puny no matter how hard they work..."

Lucky you, you also-ran! You can read the entire New York Magazine article [just click HERE!]

Here is another reason to make Technorati tags a part of every blog post. According to Dave Sifry in his State of the Blogoshere Part II, Technorati has added a new Explore feature...This new explore tool includes postings from A-listers, such as Steve Rubel in the PR space, but it also includes bloggers that Sifry names "the magic middle" (also see Rubel’s post about this), formerly known as the B-list. In other words, these are blogs that have from 20 to 1,000 sites that link to them. [more from Communication Overtones]

A moment in Blog History: Blogger SCOBLE created the top searched phrase on technorati today. Brrreeeport beat Cheney, the Olympics, etc. Via his made-up word (brrreeeport) he’s seeing how fast links propogate through different search engines.

More NY Magazine links:
• Linkology: How the 50 Most Popular Blogs Are Related
• The Early Years: A Timeline of How Blogging All Began
• Five Cool Blogs to Check Out Now
• Meet the Bloggers
• The Long Tail Theory: Why B-list Blogs Can Make It, Too


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